In brief

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 31 July 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:246

WHO upgrades polio programme: The World Health Organization is to step up its mass vaccination programme in India, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Egypt at the end of August, in a bid to vaccinate 175 million children against polio. These countries account for 99% of all new cases.

Complaints against doctors have fallen: The number of UK doctors investigated by the profession's regulatory body, the General Medical Council, rose by 4% last year to 5539, but the number of complaints made by patients fell by 13% to just under 4000. More doctors, however, were banned or suspended from practice than in 2001.

BMA worried at proposed ‘health tourist’ rules: The BMA fears that new Department of Health guidelines restricting free NHS treatment for non-UK nationals could jeopardise the health of failed asylum seekers awaiting deportation and could undermine treatments for people with transmissible diseases such as tuberculosis. See

Latest patient survey highlights concerns: Patients want more information on the side effects of medicines and the risks and benefits of treatment, the 2003 survey of patient attitudes, carried out by the Picker Institute for CHI, has found. See

Fewer European cancer deaths than expected: Only Austria and Finland met the 1985 European Union target to cut the number of deaths from cancer by 15% by 2000. Women's risk of dying from lung cancer rose by 29% in 2000. Overall, deaths among men fell by 10% and those among women by 8%, resulting in 92 500 fewer deaths than expected.

Latest SARS death: A second nurse has died of severe acute respiratory sydrome (SARS) in Ontario, Canada, bringing the total number of deaths from SARS to 41 in that province. Teclab Lin, 58, had been critically ill since March after caring for fellow nurses in Toronto. Her husband, whom she infected, died in April.

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